Carta de Amor

Magico - Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden


A fascinating set from three strong and contrasting musical personalities: Norwegian saxophonist, Brazilian guitarist-pianist, and US bassist making purposeful and creative music together on this previously unreleased live recording. “Carta de Amor” documents music captured at Munich’s Amerika Haus in April, 1981. Two years on from the much-loved albums “Magico” and “Folk Songs”, the trio’s improvisational empathy and sensibilities were further honed by experiences as a touring group. Repertoire includes five pieces from Gismonti’s pen, with the title track heard in two variations, opening and closing this enthralling double album. Also heard here are Garbarek’s folk song arrangements and an extended, freewheeling version of his composition “Spor”. Charlie Haden brings in “La Pasionaria”, from the repertoire of the Liberation Music Orchestra and “All That Is Beautiful”, not previously documented on disc. Recorded by Manfred Eicher and Martin Wieland in 1981, mixed from original analog tapes by Eicher and Jan Erik Kongshaug.

Das faszinierende Aufeinandertreffen dreier starker und gegensätzlicher musikalischer Charaktere: Ein norwegischer Saxofonist, ein brasilianischer Gitarrist/Pianist, und ein US-amerikanischer Bassist sind auf dieser bisher unveröffentlichten Liveaufnahme zu erleben, wie sie zusammen entschlossene und hoch kreative Musik entstehen lassen. “Carta de Amor” dokumentiert einen Auftritt im Münchner Amerikahaus im April 1981. Zwei Jahre nach den vielgeliebten Alben “Magico” und “Folk Songs” hatten sich die improvisatorischen Sensibilitäten und die Feinabstimmung des Trios durch gemeinsame Tourneen weiter geschärft. Das Repertoire hier enthält fünf Stücke aus der Feder von Gismonti, wobei das Titelstück in zwei Variationen zu hören ist, die dieses packende Doppelalbum eröffnen und beschließen. Zudem gibt es Garbareks Folksong-Arrangements und eine ausgedehnte Fassung seiner Komposition “Spor”. Charlie Haden bringt “La Pasionaria” aus dem Repertoire seines Liberation Music Orchestra ein, sowie “All That Is Beautiful”, das bisher nicht auf Tonträger dokumentiert war. Der Mitschnitt wurde 1981 von Manfred Eicher und Martin Wieland aufgenommen, und 2012 von den originalen Analogbändern von Eicher und Jan Erik Kongshaug gemischt.
Featured Artists Recorded

April 1981, Amerika Haus, München

Original Release Date


  • CD 1
  • 1Carta de Amor
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 2La Pasionaria
    (Charlie Haden)
  • 3Cego Aderaldo
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 4Folk Song
  • 5Don Quixote
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 6Spor
    (Jan Garbarek)
  • CD 2
  • 1Branquinho
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 2All That Is Beautiful
    (Charlie Haden)
  • 3Palhaço
    (Egberto Gismonti)
  • 4Two Folk Songs
  • 5Carta de Amor, var.
    (Egberto Gismonti)
Recorded live at Munich’s Amerika Haus in 1981, a double album of previously unreleased performances by an exceptional trio comprised of strongly contrasting musical personalities: Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek, Brazilian guitarist-pianist Egberto Gismonti and US bassist Charlie Haden.

From the early 1970s through the 1980s, ECM frequently presented concerts in the recital hall of the Amerika Haus. It was a good space for acoustic music especially, and many tapes were made to document the events there: only a few have been released thus far, an artistic treasure trove awaiting further investigation. Albums drawn from this source have included, for instance, Ralph Towner’s “Solo Concert” (1979), and the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s “Urban Bushmen” (1980). Egberto Gismonti recorded a solo set for his album “Sanfona” there in April 1981, a month that also saw two shows by the trio known as “Magico”. Engineer Martin Wieland recorded the live performances under the direction of Manfred Eicher who, three decades later, produced the present album in Oslo, mixing it with Jan Erik Kongshaug.

“Carta de Amor” means “love letter” and Egberto Gismonti says, “think of it as a message in a bottle that has taken this long to reach the shore.” In the interim the musical message has lost none of its pertinence or potency. This recording finds the protagonists two years along the road from the albums “Magico” and “Folk Songs”, opening up the repertoire to admit extended improvising, changed by their experiences as a touring band, bringing in new pieces but still maintaining the taut balance of energies that made their first studio dates so arresting.
The concentrated cry of Garbarek’s saxophones, the restless movement of Gismonti’s guitars and his focused, lyrical piano, and the dark tones of Haden’s bass, anchoring the music... The three musicians had a unique rapport. Manfred Eicher: “Listen to what they can create in a chamber music format, as a trio, a great instance of the art of listening, of interaction, and suspense. Two soulful notes from Jan – or Egberto or Charlie - can open up a whole new soundscape, to be sculpted and detailed by each of the musicians.”

Material heard here includes five compositions from Gismonti’s pen: “Cego Aderaldo”, “Don Quixote”, “Branquinho”, “Palhaço” and the title track, heard in two versions which open and close this enthralling double album. Garbarek brings in his Norwegian folk song arrangements plus a very freewheeling version “Spor”, incorporating collective improvisation. Haden contributes “La Pasionara”, his dedication to Spanish activist Dolores Ibárruri, a piece from the repertoire of the Liberation Music Orchestra (see “The Ballad of the Fallen”), rarely heard in small group interpretations. Magico’s 16-minute account of it does not lack for intensity. Haden’s other piece, “All That Is Beautiful”, receives its recorded debut here.